• Monday, June 24, 2024

Canada

India is Canada’s second-biggest foreign threat: report

The report alleged that New Delhi was “interfering in Canadian democratic processes and institutions, including through the targeting of Canadian politicians, ethnic media, and Indo-Canadian ethnocultural communities”.

(L-R) Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau (Photo by ALBERTO PEZZALI/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi (Photo by ALBERTO PEZZALI/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

IN a significant development, a new report from Canada has said that India is the second-biggest threat to Canada after China. The revelation has come nine months since Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau accused New Delhi of involvement in the assassination of a Canadian Sikh citizen, dubbed a terrorist in the south Asian nation, a year ago.

The alarming report was released by the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, a cross-party group of Canadians MPs and senators and tabled in the parliament last week.

According to the document, India has “emerged as the second-most significant foreign interference threat to Canada’s democratic institutions and processes”, replacing Russia.

It also noted that “foreign interference efforts have slowly increased” and its efforts “extended beyond countering what is perceived as pro-Khalistani efforts in Canada”.

The report alleged that New Delhi was “interfering in Canadian democratic processes and institutions, including through the targeting of Canadian politicians, ethnic media, and Indo-Canadian ethnocultural communities”.

Diplomatic ties between the two democracies nosedived over the past many months over India’s allegations that Canada was handling the problem of anti-India activities on its soil softly. The heat was reportedly felt when Trudeau visited New Delhi in September last year for the G20 summit and things worsened after he told the Canadian House of Commons that security agencies have “credible allegations of a potential link between agents of the government of India” and the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian citizen, who was gunned down by unidentified assassins outside a gurdwara in Surrey in British Columbia in June 2023.

India denied the allegations as “absurd” and demanded evidence for its allegations.

Four Indian men have now been charged in the murder by Canadian courts.

The high-level parliamentary panel report said some of the Canadian parliamentarians “proactively provided confidential information to Indian officials”.

“Some elected officials, however, began wittingly assisting foreign state actors soon after their election,” it added, redacting the identities.

While calling China as the biggest threat, the report said New Delhi’s foreign interference efforts are not as widespread as Beijing, but its activities are also “of significant concern”.

“India seeks to cultivate relationships with a variety of witting and unwitting individuals across Canadian society with the intent of inappropriately exerting India’s influence across all orders of government, particularly to stifle or discredit criticism of the Government of India,” it said.

The report also noted the involvement of countries such as Pakistan and Iran in foreign interference.

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